May 2, 2010
I’m an accountant. I know numbers, I can do math. Check it out:
FOUR at the Checkers Downtown
– Only offered on the 4th weekday in week (i.e. Thursday).
– Good for 4 hours, from 4-8PM.
– Four drinks at $4 each.
– Four plates at $4 each.
– Eight (not four!) new things to try.
– Even if you order all four drinks and all four plates, you’re still under $40 before tip.
(See why FOUR is my favorite number?)
I was originally going to wait to write this review until I’ve been four times but I just couldn’t wait. Plus, if I’ve been there twice, for two different weeks, and two is halfway to four and…
…Okay. Enough with the math. Let’s get down to the review.
If Checkers served mediocre food and mediocre drinks for $4, FOUR would still be considered a good deal. But, Checkers doesn’t serve mediocre food and drinks – they serve delicious food and well-mixed drinks, which then makes FOUR a great deal. I mean, check out these two menus and tell me this isn’t a great deal…
FOUR – 4.15.10 – DRINK SPONSOR: OCEAN VODKA
From talking to the bartenders, hard alcohol sponsored nights are more popular than the wine nights, and for good reason – Checkers cocktails are really good. This particular Thursday, I had a refreshing cucumber-mint cocktail and their version of a Salty Dog, my personal favorite for the night.
Typically made with gin and grapefruit juice, this particular drink was made with the sponsored Ocean Vodka instead and included a hint of rosemary as well. I liked the slightly tart, very citrusy grapefruit against the salty rimmed glass.
As for food, my first dish – an endive salad – was very similar to one I had at Craft, with its combination of endive, apple and blue cheese and walnuts.
Dish 2/4: Grilled Caledonian Prawn
Of my second dish, the cara cara orange was my favorite component, adding acidity and brightness. I was also happy to see they left the heads on the three large shrimp (the head is the best part!).
Dish 3/4: Halibut Cheeks in Red Thai Curry Stew
My dining companion and I ordered two of every dish except the halibut, which I began to regret after I had a taste. Described as being in a red Thai curry sauce, the curry was actually quite demure – not at all spicy or overpowering as one would expect – and allowed the fish and vegetables to really shine.
Dish 4/4: Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly
Typically fatty and melt in your mouth tender, the braised pork belly was instead crispy, as if it was fried. I expected this to be my favorite that day, but ended up being my least due to the texture issue.
FOUR – 4.29.10 – DRINK SPONSOR: SUMMERLAND WINERY
Although hard alcohol nights are more popular than wine nights, that’s not to say the wine night’s aren’t good too. Sometimes you just want to swirl a glass of pinot rather than down a martini.
As previously mentioned, FOUR offers four dishes for $4 a piece. This particular day I just wasn’t feeling the second dish on the menu, a white bean soup with chorizo. Therefore, I only ordered the other three.
Dish 1/4: Caledonia Prawn Scampi
The sauce was flavorful but not heavy and the pasta was cooked al dente. It was supposed to pair with the chardonnay (which I also ordered, pictured above) but I enjoyed the food much more than the wine.
Dish 3/4: Maitake Mushroom Toast
The mushroom toast was a little too rich for my taste. The hearty mushrooms would have been enough, but the mushroom butter was almost overwhelming. Additionally, the toast was lost underneath the piles of mushrooms and was slightly soggy from the butter.
Dish 4/4: Pan-seared Sonoma Duck Breast
The duck was my favorite of the four for this week – I ordered two orders. My first order was spot on – the duck was tender, not dry. The dates were huge (and almost looked like medallions of sweet potato). Out of all the dishes, I felt that this one embodied the wine theme the best.
I know some of you are probably still in disbelief. “…Wait, what? High quality for a low price?” Stop pinching yourself, it’s true. Yes, some dishes may be hit or miss but for $4, you really can’t go wrong.
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